The Coronado Public Library and the Coronado Cultural Arts Commission are proud to announce the five finalists for the 2020 Coronado Community Read. A subcommittee of the Literary Arts Working Team read through the one hundred and one titles nominated by the community and narrowed the field down to five finalists. Now it’s time for the community to vote for their favorite.
Voting will be open during the month of August and conclude on September 13. The winner will be announced in September at the Music Festival, and activities and programs will take place beginning February 21, 2020.
Nominated titles are in alphabetical order by author:
Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice by Bill Browder
This is a story about an accidental activist. Bill Browder started out his adult life as the Wall Street maverick whose instincts led him to Russia just after the breakup of the Soviet Union, where he made his fortune.
Along the way he exposed corruption, and when he did, he barely escaped with his life. His Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky wasn’t so lucky: he ended up in jail, where he was tortured to death. That changed Browder forever. He saw the murderous heart of the Putin regime and has spent the last half-decade on a campaign to expose it. Because of that, he became Putin’s number one enemy, especially after Browder succeeded in having a law passed in the United States, the Magnitsky Act, that punishes a list of Russians implicated in the lawyer’s murder. Putin famously retaliated with a law that bans Americans from adopting Russian orphans.
A financial caper, a crime thriller, and a political crusade, Red Notice is the story of one man taking on overpowering odds to change the world, and the story of how, without intending to, he found meaning in his life. (Non-Fiction)
Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and Birth of the FBI by David Grann
In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, the Osage rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.
Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. One of her relatives was shot. Another was poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more Osage were dying under mysterious circumstances, and many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered.
As the death toll rose, the newly created FBI took up the case, and the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to try to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including a Native American agent who infiltrated the region, and together with the Osage began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history. (Non-fiction)
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuri Noah Harari
One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one, homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us?
Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas.
Dr. Harari also compels us to look ahead, because over the last few decades humans have begun to bend laws of natural selection that have governed life for the past four billion years. We are acquiring the ability to design not only the world around us, but also ourselves. Where is this leading us, and what do we want to become? (Non-fiction)
The Last Days of Night: A Novel by Graham Moore
New York, 1888. Gas lamps still flicker in the city streets, but the miracle of electric light is in its infancy. The person who controls the means to turn night into day will make history and a vast fortune. A young untested lawyer named Paul Cravath, fresh out of Columbia Law School, takes a case that seems impossible to win. Paul’s client, George Westinghouse, has been sued by Thomas Edison over a billion-dollar question: Who invented the light bulb and holds the right to power the country?
The case affords Paul entry to the heady world of high society, the glittering parties in Gramercy Park mansions, and the more insidious dealings done behind closed doors. The task facing him is beyond daunting. Edison is a wily, dangerous opponent with vast resources at his disposal, private spies, newspapers in his pocket, and the backing of J. P. Morgan himself. Yet this unknown lawyer shares with his famous adversary a compulsion to win at all costs. How will he do it?
In obsessive pursuit of victory, Paul crosses paths with Nikola Tesla, an eccentric, brilliant inventor who may hold the key to defeating Edison, and with Agnes Huntington, a beautiful opera singer who proves to be a flawless performer on stage and off. As Paul takes greater and greater risks, he’ll find that everyone in his path is playing their own game, and no one is quite who they seem. (Fiction)
The Library Book by Susan Orlean
On the morning of April 29, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library. As the moments passed, the patrons and staff who had been cleared out of the building realized this was not the usual fire alarm. As one fireman recounted, “Once that first stack got going, it was ‘Goodbye, Charlie.’” The fire was disastrous: it reached 2000 degrees and burned for more than seven hours. By the time it was extinguished, it had consumed four hundred thousand books and damaged seven hundred thousand more.
Weaving her lifelong love of books and reading into an investigation of the fire, Orlean introduces us to an unforgettable cast of characters from libraries past and present, from Mary Foy, who in 1880 at eighteen years old was named the head of the Los Angeles Public Library at a time when men still dominated the role, to the men and women who still provide services today. Orlean takes the readers back to the investigation into the fire, but more than thirty years later, the mystery remains: Did someone purposefully set fire to the library, and if so, who? Or was it an act of fate? (Non-fiction)
Cast your vote in person at the Library, Bay Books, or the Community Center, or online at: http://tiny.cc/puy29y. Voting will be open during the month of August and conclude on September 13. The winner will be announced in September at the Music Festival, and activities and programs will take place beginning February 21, 2020.
The Coronado Community Read is made possible by the Friends of the Coronado Public Library and the Coronado Cultural Arts Commission.